Posts

Gopher Support in Pleroma

2 minute read Published:

Un-Bloating the Fediverse

As you may already know, Pleroma is high-performance and low-resource fediverse server mean to run even on small devices like a Raspberry Pi.

Still, there is one part of Pleroma that is wasteful to the extreme…

It’s true! Pleroma’s mother allowed it to have TWO frontends, but both are resource-hogging Javascript monstrosities. If you don’t have a ‘modern’ browser that turns your PC into a heater, you won’t be able to see any posts!

So where did we go wrong? I think the problem goes way back. We made a deal with the Devil when we accepted free-form HTML into our systems. The best solution is to not make this mistake anymore, and go back to the future to a better alternative.

And that’s why, today, I’m announcing Gopher support for Pleroma!

Privacy and Tracking on the Fediverse

6 minute read Published:

How much privacy can you expect on the fediverse

Recently, there have been some shocking revelations. Facebook, a company in the business of selling your data to advertisers, had some of its data used illegally by a third party that used it to advertise to you. As people hate nothing more than getting their data misused without Facebook getting a cut, they are now up in arms and want to leave Facebook once and for all.

Media eye seems to have fallen on the Mastodon network as a solution this time. For an example, look at this Washington Post article, The new technology that aspires to #DeleteFacebook for good (19 trackers on the page, including Facebook), in which they tout it as a privacy-preserving alternative to walled-garden company-run networks.

Mastodon BDFL Gargron himself wrote an article with the nice subtitle Perspective from a platform that doesn’t put democracy in peril. He is privacy conscious, so this page only has two trackers.

(Aside: This article contains the delightful phrase “#DeleteFacebook is trending on Twitter.”)

In all of these articles, Mastodon (and by extension, the Fediverse) are described as a more private and secure way of posting cat pictures and “please subscribe to my patreon” online. But is this actually true? Let’s check the situation on the fediverse.

What Is Pleroma?

5 minute read Published:

An introduction to the Pleroma microblogging server

In my last few posts I talked a bit about Pleroma. Since then, we had a lot of questions about what Pleroma is, how it is different from GNU Social and Mastodon, why you should use it and so on. This post will be an introduction to Pleroma, so read on if you are interested.

ActivityPub in Pleroma

4 minute read Published:

Implementing ActivityPub in Pleroma

After some work, ActivityPub support will be merged into the develop branch of Pleroma in the next days.

This change will add the following user facing features:

  • Support for Mastodon’s visibility suggestion settings, like private posts and direct messages.
  • Slightly faster federation

Not too much for a few weeks of work. Anyway, here are my thoughts about the whole process.

Repairing a Sharp Twin Famicom Disk Drive

2 minute read Published:

Replacing the belt on a Sharp Twin Famicom Disk Drive

I recently got a Sharp Twin Famicom for around 70€. This is rather cheap, they usually go for over 200€ in good condition. The Twin Famicom is a Famicom with a built-in Famicom Disk System drive. This was a floppy disk system for the Famicom that was only used in Japan. The one I got worked well with carts (at least with 8BIT MUSIC POWER FINAL), but disks wouldn’t read at all.

Testing a Cheap Chinese Mega Everdrive

3 minute read Published:

Testing a basic chinese knockoff Mega Everdrive

If you remember my post from a few days ago, you’ll know that I modded my PAL Mega Drive with a region switch. This works well for Mega Drive games, but Mega CD games have their own problems. The Mega CD bios is region locked and will display an error when you start it in the wrong region.

There are a few ways to get other bios roms running on the system. One is to swap the EPROM on the Mega CD with either another region or a region free bios. This is rather invasive and involves soldering. An easier way is to use a Mega Drive flash cart. These can also run the Mega CD bios files, which makes them a good way to make your Mega CD region free.

Pleroma Encyclical: ActivityPub

6 minute read Published:

What is ActivityPub and why?

In my free time, I develop a free software social network server called Pleroma (code). It is compatible with GNU Social, Mastodon, Friendica, and any other server that implements the OStatus protocol. Recently, there has been some buzz about a new protocol for federated social networking: ActivityPub. This protocol is now a W3C Recommendation, which means that it’s a kind of ‘standard’, if you care about that sort of thing. Here’s my opinion on it, and how it came to be where it is now.

Wiring Up a Neo Geo MVS

2 minute read Published:

Setting up a Neo Geo MVS with a power supply and jamma adapter

If you want to get a Neo Geo, you should probably get the MVS (arcade) model instead of the AES (home) model. The games are much cheaper and 200-in-1 type cartridges are readily available. If you have an MVS board, you’ll need a way to power it and a way to connect controls and the screen.

As the Neo Geo MVS uses the JAMMA arcade connector standard, there are many ready-made solutions that will give you standard SCART RGB output, some controller connectors and a way to connect a power supply (either ATX or special arcade ones). I got one from http://www.retroelectronik.com. You can reuse this for non Neo Geo arcade boards, too.

Here’s the system how it was when I got it.

Region Switching Mod for Pal Mega Drive

2 minute read Published:

Putting a 3-way region switch into a PAL Mega drive

The PAL Mega Drive can rather easily be modded with a switch that enables switching between PAL, NTSC-J and NTSC-US. It doesn’t require much skill, if you can do basic soldering, this one is for you. For proper instructions, take a look at this site.

Here’s a picture of my Mega Drive running at 50hz.

Running Touhou Games on a PC98 Laptop

2 minute read Published:

Getting Touhou games to run on a PC-9821 Na12

If you try running the Touhou games on newer PC98 machines like my PC-9821 Na12 laptop, you might run into issues. When I tried to start any of the games, they would just hang on initialization of the sound driver. This makes sense, because my system has an enhanced FM chip, that is not fully backwards compatible with the original FM chips of the PC98. Interestingly, this has never been a problem in any game but in Touhou for me.

I tried to just load other FM drivers and then manually start the games, which nearly worked: I was able to use the menus, listen to the music, select new game… and then it would crash.

Writing PC-98 Floppy Images Under Linux

3 minute read Published:

How to write d88 floppy images to actual floppies

I have a PC-9821 laptop computer. This is a Japanese system that’s almost-but-not-quite IBM compatible, with the biggest differences being the graphics and sound system. It’s an interesting system, with a few thousand games that never came out in the west in any way, including the first five Touhou Project games.